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Home Sittingbourne News Article
The search for missing Sittingbourne roofer Matthew Green has taken a dramatic twist with two separate sightings on the other side of the world.
Three years after walking out of his family's Rock Road home and "disappearing", a man with an English accent and striking resemblance to the 29-year-old has been spotted in New Zealand.
Both sightings - by former Sittingbourne residents who have emigrated - were made in an Auckland shopping centre on different days.
Hannah Bellew, whose sister was a schoolmate of Matthew, said she did a "double take" when she walked passed the man before stopping and going back to look for him.
And Darren Driver said he is "95% sure" the person he saw in a mobile phone shop is Matthew after a friend sent him a missing poster featuring a photo of the former Fulston Manor pupil.
Mrs Bellew, who moved to New Zealand seven years ago, was with her husband Jason and their two children when a man resembling Mr Green - who vanished more than three years ago - caught her eye.
He was wearing khaki trousers, a t-shirt and a carrying a small rucksack.
Mrs Bellew, 27, said: "I stopped and said to my husband 'I'm sure that's the boy that's missing from my home town, should I say hello?'~
But when doubt started to creep in to her mind, she carried on walking. She added: "I then thought, I'm going to go back and shout out 'Matt' and see if he reacts, but it was too late, I couldn't find him.'"
After searching the internet and looking at photos of him as well as talking to her sister, who went to school with Mr Green, the dental nurse eventually reported her sighting to Missing People.
Almost three weeks later, Mr Driver believes he saw the same man in a mobile phone shop at the same shopping centre.
The 32-year-old, who used to live in Kemsley, said he is "95% sure" it was Matthew.
He said: "He asked for a pay-as-you-go sim card. The only reason I noticed him was because of the English accent. It's unusual to hear it out here, so I turned and looked at him."
When he got home, he checked his emails and saw one from a Sittingbourne friend who had sent him a missing poster of Mr Green after hearing about Mrs Bellew's sighting.
He said: "I told my partner Ellie, 'I'm sure I saw this guy today.'
"I wouldn't usually get involved with something like this but I have a 10-month-old son, Memphis, and if he ever went missing I would be doing all I could to try and find out about his whereabouts."
Self-employed roofer Mr Green was last seen at his family home in Rock Road, Sittingbourne, at 8pm on April 8, 2010, when he told his parents Pauline and Jim he was going to stay with a friend in London for the weekend.
When he did not return home, his disappearance was reported to the police.
His bank account has not been touched and his passport has not been used.
Mrs Green, 59, said: "I just want to know if it is him. At the moment I'm at the top of the roller coaster but I don't want to hit the bottom.
"I've got to be realistic - it might not be him, but I have spoken to Hannah and from everything she's told me it does sound like him.
"I am excited but I'm trying to keep it at bay until I get concrete proof."
Inspector Mark Button confirmed Kent Police has received two reports of possible sightings of Mr Green and that officers are speaking to the authorities in New Zealand.
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